Caulfield Cup 2017: Punters have cause to steer clear of Johannes Vermeer
Story Courtesy Nathan Exelby – Brisbane Courier Mail
IS Johannes Vermeer the real deal or has his elevation to Caulfield Cup favourite simply been a market over-reaction from one unexpected peak performance?
That question will be answered on Saturday afternoon for fans of Johannes Vermeer, who has gone from unheralded import to dominant Caulfield Cup favourite in the space of seven days.
Before the Caulfield Stakes, Johannes Vermeer was an unknown to Australian punters and was duly sent out a $31 chance.
But his slashing second to Gailo Chop, leaving former Cup favourite Bonneval in his wake, saw him top betting charts after being rated in the vicinity of a $34 to $51 before the race.
Many rating agencies have his Caulfield Stakes second as the benchmark in this field and have made him the clear top rater.
Timeform Australia’s Adam Blencowe confirmed Johannes Vermeer also rated highly on the Timeform scale, but warned he has reservations about the Aidan O’Brien-trained import repeating the dose on Saturday.
Blencowe’s caution comes from “SP (starting price) profiling” on tens of thousands of races, where statistics show horses that perform above market expectations (ie: run better than their starting price suggested) are a poor commodity to bet on at their next start.
Conversely, horses at short odds which run poorly have a habit of bouncing back next time out, which is why Blencowe is prepared to forgive the ‘disappointing’ last start efforts of both Humidor and Bonneval.
“I’m not saying Johannes Vermeer can’t win — he’s obviously a top hope — but he was 30-1 last week and ran a new peak. Statistically speaking, the chances are that he will come off that peak (Saturday),” Blencowe said. “I suspect he’s going to be hammered in betting today and I just can’t get him that short.”
Interestingly, if Johannes Vermeer can win on Saturday, he will have carried in the biggest last start SP of any Caulfield Cup winner (off an Australian lead-up) in the last 30 years.
The biggest priced last start SP was Admire Rakti, who went around at close to $100 in Japan’s prestigious Tenno Sho before winning the 2014 Cup, but off an Australian lead-up run, Bart Cummings’ Viewed is the longest priced one, having started at $26 in the Turnbull Stakes before winning the 2009 Caulfield Cup.
At the other end of the scale, Bonneval is trying to become the first horse that was a beaten last-start favourite to win the Cup since Might And Power, who was beaten as the $4.80 favourite in the 1997 Epsom before his record-breaking Caulfield Cup win.
Bonneval is trying to replicate Mannerism, who missed the place as the $2.25 favourite in the 1992 Caulfield Stakes before toppling Veandercross in the Cup seven days later.
The one horse Blencowe is cautious of is Hugh Bowman’s mount Marmelo.
“He does profile more as a Melbourne Cup horse, but you can mount a case to say he’s better performed than both Dunaden and Americain were in Europe before they came here and won their Cups,” Blencowe said.
Punters jump back on Bonneval
PUNTERS did a U-turn on Friday and realigned their allegiances with Bonneval, as she attempts to turn last week’s below-par run into Caulfield Cup glory on Saturday.
Punters went cold on the mare early in the week as uncertainty built on whether she would run or not. However, after being cleared by vets on Thursday, support once again rolled in for her.
“Johannes Vermeer had been the best-backed runner all week, but that turned around after Bonneval got the all-clear,” UBET’s Gerard Daffy said. “Nobody wanted to be on her, but (on Friday) she was comfortably the best-backed runner, firming from $8.50 to $7.50.”
Bonneval firmed in most places after Racing Victoria stewards finally agreed with trainer Murray Baker that the mare was fit to take her place in the field.
“Everyone had been holding back with regards to Bonneval, but once she got the tick, they jumped straight back on,” tab.com.au’s Glenn Munsie said.
While both totalisator agencies reported support for Bonneval, Australia’s biggest corporate bookmaker Sportsbet said she was still friendless with them.
“When Bonneval was in form she was the most popular Cup runner, but she’s now eased from as short as $4.80 to $9,” Sportsbet’s Will Byrne said.
Others finding support with Sportsbet have been Ventura Storm ($15-$12), Humidor ($7.50) and Harlem ($9.50).
Daffy said UBET had written just 30 bets in total on Johannes Vermeer before he put himself in the spotlight in the Caulfield Stakes last Saturday.
Munsie said it had been a similar story south of the border.